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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meyer Talking Points -Hyperlinks Format

Elizabeth J. Meyer, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She is the author of two books: Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools and Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools.  She has been a classroom teacher, and also involved in "grassroots education" and equity work in the U.S. and Canada for the past 15 years. She is passionate about finding a solution to end the inequalities within the school systems, and is constantly trying to end all gendered harrasements that unfortunatly have been occruing more and more recently today.

In the article Meyer preformed a study where she interviewed six teachers from the same school district but all in different school type settings of Canada. During the study an in depth analysis of teacher’s responses to gendered harassment within their schools is explored. The teachers who participated in the study basically helped Meyer to nail down the huge problem into two major influential categories, which are the combinations of internal and external influences. Both of these barriers according to Mayer can act as barriers of motivators for intervention of the issues presented constantly on gendered harassment.

According to Meyers gendered harassment is defined as any behavior, verbal, physical, or psychological, that policies the boundaries of traditional heterosexual gender norms and includes (hetero) sexual harassment, homophobic harassment, and harassment for gender non-conformity. Also, according to recent study reports teachers today are less likely to intervene in cases of this sort of harassment within their school, rather than any other form of bullying. So why is that? Throughout the article Meyers interviews teachers through a series of open ended questions, and asks them why they feel that recent studies have proved that last statement to be correct. 

From identifying the external influences being the schools culture based on the institutional and social influences teachers responses as to why they are least likely to correct gendered harassment is simply because they feel they are not supported from the institutional rules like they should be on the issue. One teacher states that discipline for calling another student a "faggot" had to be pushed very hard by them to get that student in trouble, yet that teacher knows if that student had used a racial slur against another student discipline would be taken immediately. Here, on one hand it is like the school system is half way there to getting it right, to teaching our youth how they should act and treat their peers. They know it is wrong to use racial slurs, and that compared to 40 years ago is fantastic and it is about time we are enforcing that. Yet, it’s like you administrators knew enough to stop that, why can’t they see that gendered harassment is also a malice in their schools, and put an iron fist down on that issue as well? The answer according to Meyer will begin when teachers feel they have the administrative power backing them, which will influence a new better kind of culture for the school.

As for what internal influences are, Meyer explains these to be personal identities of the teachers, which act as motivators or even de-motivators in how teachers react to discriminatory behavior. Teachers who actually cared deeply to stop the problem make connections with their own personal discriminations and bullying they themselves encountered. Here, Meyers explained that victimization has emerged from educators as a “significant impetus for educator activism and intervention". Sadly but true one knows that when people aren’t or have never been a victim of bullying, they do not stick up for the victims because they cannot relate to them.

While reading the interview excerpts and how Meyer believes this problem can be solved, I very much agree with her. I do think this issue needs to be tackled not by just one teacher, yet I think new policies and rules should be written regarding any form of sexual gendered bullying. It is something that is happening way too much today and it should simply not be here at all. Every person is entitled to how they act, who they are sexually attracted to, how they dress, who they hang around with etc. I do not understand how anybody can take it amongst themselves to be the “right, or cool" one because they look dress or are attracted to a certain sexuality. It is a sad thing that has occurred over many years, and it needs to stop. With recent bullying occurring so much and it accruing amongst children of our school systems this has lead to an unfortunate high rate of suicide rates because the victims have been tortured that much.  Below is a picture of a young man named Justin. Justin was a talented musician from a school
District where seven students within the district in Minnesota committed suicide. Yet, leaders of that area  say  they stand by their current policies which states that staff must remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation 'in the course of their professional duties.' But 'professional duties' often include everything from breaking up fights to consoling students. “This clearly is not working here in this District and teachers just like the ones in Meyers articles don't have clear guidance about how they are to respond during certain situations involving gendered harassment.  These students are alone, and are not even protected by their teachers, because their teachers aren’t protected this is a horrible snowball effect!

"Most of the teachers and principals, and maybe even now the superintendent, they mean well — they want to intervene,”.... "But the teachers still don't know what they can and can't do." In this article by the associated press, author David Crary discusses the recent non-attempts school administrators have been taking to try and fix this problem throughout their schools. Gay-rights supporters especially in this article insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific components addressing harassment of gay youth. Yet on the other hand religious groups are opposing such policies are to be put into schools because they say it is an "manipulative tactic to sway young people's views of homosexuality." REDICULOUS!!!! So let’s have kids kill themselves because God wants that to happen right?? MORONS!

In the article titled get that freak: homophobia and transphobia in high schools, the author addresses the hidden curriculum of bullying occurring from gendered harassment from issues such as homophobia and transphobia in schools. She speaks of the recent prevalence of homophobic and transphobic bullying and the specific experiences from some students within high schools and how this bullying has effected them.  From physical harassment top students resisting all forms of the harassment, Haskell illustrates how things can become more in a positive lights one day.

So again since I have never worked in a school as an administrator or a teacher, I cannot speak from experience with this issue. So... I searched a guide which Administrators could use if they were interested in changing the culture that Meyers spoke about in her article. Throughout this guide if anybody is interested it shows administrators how to foster a culture that is non tolerant of any form of gender harassment, and what they should be doing in order to achieve just that. Being that I have never seen how this would happen in a school if an administrator decided to do just this, I could see this article as being very helpful in aiding in the process to stop this unforutnality .administrators Guide

1 comment:

  1. Great job on your blog Sara!!! I liked how you used additional examples of bullying in your post. The administrators guide sounds very interesting too:)